Most leading historians, archaeologists and linguists don’t believe that the four official Christian Gospels can be relied upon as accurate records of historical fact. The Christmas stories, for instance, are known to be complete fabrications based on stories passed down from other traditions, edited to make them appear consistent with ancient Hebrew prophecies. The Easter stories too are highly dubious as factual accounts.
Easter is unquestionably the most important day of the Christian calendar. On Easter Day Christians believe their saviour Yeshua came back to life and was seen in corporeal form for several weeks before ascending on a cloud to ‘heaven’. This is the very basis of their religion.
They believe it because the gospels say it happened, or so they think. But most Christians aren’t aware of the inconsistencies in the scriptures. The Gospels are riddled with factual errors, contradictions and unsupported statements that challenge the very basis of the religion.
This series presents ten myths about the Easter stories drawing on Gospel sources and historical records from the period.
Myth #5: Several of Yeshua’s disciples witnessed the ‘resurrection’
The fact is, according to the gospels themselves, nobody saw him walk out of the tomb. Even Paul of Tarsus – his main apostle and for many the actual founder of the Christian religion – believed that Yeshua returned in changed form, not as a resuscitated corpse
The earliest reference to a resurrection appears in Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, written around a quarter of a century after the crucifixion. But Paul never claimed a physical resurrection; he believed that Yeshua had reappeared in changed form, transformed into a spiritual body. Perhaps that’s why he was not easily recognized in the Easter stories.
Three of the gospel writers did not agree. They went to some lengths to insist that the risen Yeshua was not a ghost, nor was he a mutilated man hobbling around. In their versions he could appear and disappear at will, ate, drank and could be touched.
Why make it up? When Yeshua died, his disciples were scared and confused. Their hopes that he was the one to liberate his people were shattered. Then, as the decades rolled by, successive generations of Christians began to see him as the personification of G_d. But how could G_d die? How could they execute G_d as a common criminal? Why didn’t he try to escape so he could continue his ministry? They had a lot of explaining to do, and the startling explanation they came up with was resurrection.
©David Lawrence Preston, 10.2.2017
Follow me on Facebook and Twitter @David_L_Preston
Balboa Press, 2015